Corporate cold-shoulder

I can’t imagine that there could be people in the world who don’t have new ideas popping out of their head constantly. Though, I hardly ever hear people about their great new ideas and their fantastic solution for everyday problems, or maybe even that one brilliant idea that will change the way we think or live forever. Do we keep these fantastic ideas to ourselves in order to develop the idea into a commercial product and benefit from it? Do we just simply forget about the idea? Do we feel ashamed of the idea, or afraid of the reactions of our (social) network? Are we afraid to take our own ideas seriously, because “corporate minds must have had this idea long before I thought of it”?

I remember that when I was still a kid I was keeping a diary of all the great inventions that I would develop when I would be ‘old’. There were ideas in there like a navigation system for blind people so they not only could walk through a city without any problem, but also would be able to ride bikes or even cars thanks to instruction via a sound system, a pair of infra red/ night vision goggles for people who suffer from night blindness which enables them to see at night and a system that would prevent cars from hitting living animals thanks to infrared sensors and a system that would prevent bugs to get killed on the car windows, preventing both a poor vision and millions of deaths.

Somewhere in time I stopped writing my ideas down because I felt I would never be able to obtain the knowledge needed for the development of all those great inventions and I was afraid that when I would share them, big companies would develop them without making them available for a large audience thanks to high prices and huge profit margins. A few years later, when I was close to being officially a grown up (in European standards), I figured that if I was not going to develop these ideas anyway, I might as well share them with the companies and with whoever wanted to hear about them. I actually wrote letters to huge companies in order to help them develop my ideas. None of them ever replied. I must say, that was quite a deception for a naïve teenager with too many ideas to keep track of.

I changed my view again. I figured that probably my ideas weren’t that new. That the large corporations probably had already looked into the matter, wrote a business case about it and figured that the idea probably wouldn’t be realistic nor profitable. Then something terrible happened. I stopped paying attention to my ideas. I stopped getting enthusiastic. I even tried to ignore the ideas.

Now and then an idea popped into my head that would warp me back in time. Those ideas were so groundbreaking for me that I had to let go of everything I had learned about how the world works and about how to prevent disappointment. Then I would write the idea down, send an e-mail to corporate cold-shoulder and tell everyone about the huge difference this invention would cause for the target group. Of course, with the same results as ever. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” (Albert Einstein).

A big part of this little history took place before internet started dominating our lives. Before Apple became a fashion statement, before social networking became something you did behind a computer screen. These days I still have plenty ideas. Varying from ways to improve the ease of discovering new music to solutions that will help us stop polluting the planet we live on and everything in between and far beyond. There is too little of a binding factor in my ideas to start up a company around it, so I can develop them myself, without waiting for the corporate cold-shoulder. I still have too little knowledge, and I will probably always have too little knowledge to develop the ideas myself and when I tell people about my ideas in the hope they will get enthusiastic too and wanting to help me, they say: “Cool, Let me know when you’re done!” Basically, not much has changed.

Maybe someday I will be a multi lingual programmer, a talented engineer in every field, a ground breaking scientist, a successful sociologist, a marketing and business economics guru and a personal efficiency hero. I guess until that day, I will have to trust that I will be able to gain the knowledge or the people around me to develop all those wonderful ideas, like this wonderful idea that popped into my head earlier today about funding good causes by community exchange, or that idea about that database for knowledge about music or that one about recreating packaging materials in order to reduce thrash loads or that one about….

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